Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The American BBC Sherlock.

There's a TV show that we never got to see, thanks to Elementary.

What is that show? The American version of Sherlock, of course.

As any avid user of Netflix streaming knows, there seem to be two versions of many a popular BBC show. There's a Being Human (US) and a Being Human (UK). There's Shameless (US) and Shameless (UK). And should we even bring The Office into this?

As most fans know, the project that eventually became Elementary started as CBS checking in with the makers of Sherlock to see if they'd do a U.S. show. That conversation quickly went nowhere, and we got what we got. But what if things had gone differently? What if we got a Sherlock with different actors, twenty-four episode seasons, and all the tweaks that come from a transplant using the same seeds?

Sure, there have been failures in the UK-to-US television transplant process, but there have also been notable successes, too. Very solid successes.

Without the threat of lawsuits hanging so large over the show's head, Sherlock Holmes could have stayed in London, with his father only influencing his life in making Mycroft suffer through Les Miz. "A Study in Pink" might have been extended to a two or three part story, and Moriarty's arc would have lasted at least through the first season, where some of what we saw on the BBC got re-worked into the American show. Eventually, the American Sherlock would have started charting its own course, of course, with all that extra air-time to fill. Mycroft might have gotten his own episode. Maybe one totally told from Mrs. Hudson's point of view would have shown up as well. A lot of those "two minute" case snippets we get on the BBC version could have been expanded into something closer to modern adaptations of Doyle's originals than we've seen elsewhere.

It could have been a dream . . . or a dud. One never knows with these things. Could an American Sherlock surpass it's British original, even with the best writers, directors, and showrunners America has to offer?  Given the track records of shows past, I'd think catching the same flavor and producing something of equal quality is the best we could have hoped for. But still, that would be nothing to sneeze at.

As it stands, an American Sherlock seems like something we'll only see if we develop travel to parallel universes at some point . . . or maybe a second act, recreating the beloved show a decade or so after the BBC finishes their run.

These days, you just never know. "What might have been" sometimes just winds up being "what is still to come." And it's not like Elementary could sue . . . .


  1. On a related note, one of the biggest missed opportunities in the history of Sherlock adaptations for TV was the Christopher Plummer as Holmes attempt developed by UK and Canadian companies Harlech Television and OECA. They managed to release a quasi-pilot in 1977 in the form of "Silver Blaze" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Blaze_(1977_film) . Other than being a little on the short side (25 minutes), Plummer's SILV is quite good and very faithful to the Canon. One can only imagine what could of been if Plummer was given the chance to settle into the role and the writers were allowed to create 50 minute episodes. Then again, if the Plummer series had happened Granada may have never attempted their version and the world would have never been given the gift of Jeremy Brett as the Great Detective.

    Christopher Plummer of course went on to play Holmes in 'Murder By Decree' (1979) which some love, some hate and many are indifferent. Plummer's "Silver Blaze" can be found online, though the quality is fairly poor.

    1. I have a DVD version of it somewhere that isn't too bad picture-wise.

  2. I love that version of SILV. But don't you think Plummer's too good an actor to be stuck doing a TV series?

    1. Actually Christopher Plummer WAS "stuck" in a TV series called "Counterstrike" from 1990 to 1993. I enjoyed it, but I rather think a Sherlock Holmes series would have been a better use of his talents.

  3. I never saw the point of repeating which has been already done.

    What the Americans really should do is make a series with a modern Dupin and base if on all the Poe stories. They do have their own super-smart Detective after all.